First and foremost, this is not a blog entry to do any form of publicity for Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). Rather, I see it as a form of generating more public awareness among Singaporeans.
How often, OR do you inform MFA where you are heading to prior to your overseas trips?
How many Singaporeans do that?
This could be the question posed by Ms Joan Pereira, Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC during a Committee of Supply (COS) debate for MFA in Singapore Budget 2017 during Parliament on Thursday 2 March 2017
Mr Maliki Osman, Senior Minister of State for MFA replied, saying that many Singaporeans who travel overseas don’t bother to e-register with MFA. He added that there is a “big disparity” between 400,000 e-registrants and the 7.5 million outbound trips made by Singaporeans in 2016 – and this does not include the more than 16 million overland trips made to neighbouring Malaysia every year.
I may be hard of hearing. Yes I am not required to apply for any exit permit with Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) but I make it a point to e-register with MFA whenever going overseas. Why?
This is so that in the event of any life-threatening situation, MFA in Singapore has a way to locate me, and advises me what to do, be it phone-call/email or text messaging. This is very important especially if I am travelling alone.
Putting Singapore embassies or missions aside, do you know this is a FREE service offered by MFA to assist all Singapore citizens before they step out of the country?
It merely takes few minutes to do it online.
You may be heading overseas for work or studies. The information you provide to MFA will allow its relevant officials to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and alright should anything happens during your period of overseas travel or stay, and offers you help. Wherever you are in the world.
Mr Maliki said, 8 out of 10 calls that MFA currently receives during emergency situations are from the next-of-kin of Singaporeans who did not e-register, Mr Maliki said.
He gave an example of a Singaporean in China who had not e-registered but later complained that MFA did not reach out to him after a disaster occurred.
Unfortunately, many Singaporeans don’t bother. They take many things for granted. Sigh.
Either they really don’t know about this or just see no need to do it. Or ermm..just lazy?
Personally speaking, although it is a voluntary act, I think this is a matter of personal responsibility. For myself and family members.
Well if anything happens, please don’t complain the Government doesn’t care.
This is the web portal URL for E-register service with MFA – click here.